It just amazes me that some of the most self-proclaimed 'independent' people can be so servile about one man. They give brutal 'freedom fighters' a pass when they're 'on our side' (I can hear the justifications coming and I have the barf pail close by), hand extremist demagogues the benefit of their dollars, swallow all kinds of lies and deception from other fundamentalists, and absolutely adore, with every fiber of their being, the wonderful George W. Bush.
The Bush worship we are seeing in the neocon masses today belongs in the long catalogue of human psychopathology--not rational behavior. The latest version is the 'stay the course' rhetoric in Iraq. Iraq has been made into a hot war zone, in which tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed by bombs and American troops die pointlessly. Bush's personal jihad had no connection with Bin Laden, but was motivated by revenge in reaction to the way Saddam tried to assassinate George H.W. Bush, Sr. At the end of his two terms of office, the President has squandered multi-billions in Iraq and thrust our service men and women into harm's way, ignoring the dangers, to distract the public from his utter failure to capture Bin Laden, his dismal economic failures and the GOP's relentless assault on the Constitution & Bill of Rights.
But our neocon fundamentalists harbor such sheep-like worship for him that they twisted an amazing turning point in American history--the election of the first African-American President--into a smear campaign, using any fraudulent reason to sneer at the President-elect. If anybody threw a baseless accusation during Obama's campaign, screaming conservative witch hunts and frivolous lawsuits would be launched for days afterward. Nothing but sneers & slander followed the relentless fraudulent attack on Barack Obama's 'citizenship, which he fended off with his usual grace and humor. We have never known a US president (since Richard Nixon) to act as disgracefully as George W. Bush. The Republicans' fawning defense of him is based almost entirely on fundamentalist rationalizations, extremist delusions and corporate greed for power. Not much rationality there.
The neocon melodrama is therefore being driven, not by facts and reason, but by the most primitive emotions that surge in right-wing brains. Neoconservative minds haven't changed much since the days of Ronald Reagan. U.S. citizens are a lot less prosperous than 8 years ago, and loss of prosperity just allows those ancient demons to come out more freely. If neocons were huddled by a small fire in a cave, hungry and miserable, they could not indulge their bitter fantasies any more than the right-wing media now encourage them to do. Declining prosperity and fear of liberal or minority advancement permits their primitive urges to flourish on the public stage.
President George W. Bush is being idolized in the conservative media in spite of his plain arrogance and ignorance, and in spite of his remarkable stupidity in launching two difficult wars to distract this nation from blatant failures. All wars are hard; Bush's wars involve mistakes, self-deception and outright lies. The Iraq and Afghan wars, even if they are to be won, come at too great a cost for no meaningful benefit.
It is natural enough for fawning conservatives to be upset by the blatant independence of the mainstream media--indeed, by their visible disdain--so they just maintain a little mental detachment as they desperately project an antique psychological trauma: The deification of their resigning king, along with the obsessive vilification of a new one, who might possibly release us from our conservative-engineered depression. (Of course they label our new President as 'king' and 'saviour', since they cannot recognize leaders in any terms except charismatic fascination…) This is the stuff of Shakespeare and Sophocles. They insist George W. Bush's "head is bloody but unbowed," to quote the poem Invictus, ['Uconquered'] (and coincidently Timothy McVeigh's last words before his execution.)
Neoconservatives rationalize their whole ordeal through a classic fantasy, 'The King Must Die', written in the 1950s when neocons last understood the world. Mary Renault based her tale on reinterpreted legends of royal sacrifice from the ancient Mediterranean world--in Greece and Crete, with a hero who believes he is the son of a god. Read it if you want to understand Bush worship and Obama hatred. Renault's source was Sir James Fraser's remarkable book, 'The Golden Bough', a work on mythology & religion, both central to fundamentalist politics. While anthropologists have discredited Fraser's claim that king sacrifice is universal, the scholar James D. Brown still maintains that the evidence favors "Oedipal rebellion" as a universal among primitive peoples studied over more than a century. The right-wing no longer admits their kings overtly, but the Right and neocon talk-radio act just like the lynch mobs of old. Listen to their voices and you'll hear the ancient roar of the mob.
We can watch the tragicomedy of their psychopolitics unfold and still keep some perspective. Think of it as a stage play like Macbeth, and pray that justice & reason prevail in the end. The fundamentalist media are actors playing the ancient role of the politically envious, who exist in every tribal culture where the head of their clan sleeps uneasily, fearful of plots and assassination attempts. All politics is not just local, as the Washington saying goes, but deep down in the neocon soul it is tribal.
What is hopeful today is what was hopeful at the American founding: the use of constitutional means to channel our loves and hates into a fairly reasonable course of common action. The majority of Americans are pretty sane and rational; they don't trust the Republican extremists, and they are deserting the Big Tent in the tens of millions even now. The American Founders knew all about vulgar mobs, and lived to see them in the French Revolution of 1789, with Napoleon rising on top of the revolutionary chaos to explode into a mass war of conquest in Europe. The Founders despised all that. They designed the Constitution to steer a steady course in spite of mobs and demagogues. It has worked magnificently for two centuries, and despite the determined assaults of Bush & Cheney, it still holds.
Barry Goldwater famously said, "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!", a classic justification for embracing unthinking fanatics. But that was not the Founders' view of the American people: We are all "the people," as the Declaration of Independence tells us. "The people" are the source of all good and bad things. The people—when not unbalanced by fundamentalist propaganda--have brought prosperity that was unimaginable two hundred years ago. The people harbor wisdom and common sense in a way that fundamentalist extremists soon forget. Liberals are hopeful about human nature, not cynical or despairing. Nor do we project messianic status to leaders like Barack Obama or expect 'the king' to solve our problems. We look to muddle through, to give individuals the space to grow and succeed, to stand against the mobs, to fail at times, and then to fight again.
Whenever conservatives see yet another progressive movement from the Left, they feel it is their obligation to stand in opposition. It is not unpatriotic to criticize their messiah of the past--though the Right will say so. It is our duty. We can do so with reason, with humor, and with clear thinking about the bad ideas the Right-wing seems to carry around like a scratchy case of the fleas.
President Bush was a blatantly deceptive politician. He is a venal and impulsive man. He has constantly made the self-serving decision by his lights, sometimes against the Constitution and the Republic, because conservative politics sometimes makes things like war necessary; sometimes de-regulation and economic fascism makes massive corporate bailouts necessary. The real neoconservative question is always, "What is the corporate imperative?"
The driving power behind conservative politicians (and their worshippers) is a mix of creationism and corporate despotism. Bush has infuriated people around the planet (and some fifty million Muslims), including one Arab journalist who just hurled his hush puppies at him in an ancient gesture of contempt. That man is outraged today because of George W. Bush–and Dick Cheney would like to tie him choking onto a waterboard. Compared to Bush/Cheney and the corruptocrats, Barack Obama will soon look like an actual American President instead of a fundamentalist 'savior'. Just watch it happen.
(With sincere thanks to 'The Capitalist'...)